BRASILIA, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Nearly half of Brazilian adults are overweight, according to a study released by Brazil's Ministry of Health on Monday.
The study found 48.1 percent of Brazilian adults are overweight and 15 percent obese, compared to the figures in 2006 when 42.7 percent of the population were overweight and 11.4 percent obese.
By gender, 52.1 percent of Brazilian men and 44.3 percent of Brazilian women are overweight now. Five years ago, the figures were 47.2 percent for men and 38.5 percent for women.
The statistics meant an average increase of about one percent per year in overweight adults of both genders, and 0.5 percent in obese adults.
Secretary of Health Surveillance Jarbas Barbosa warned that if the trend continues, Brazil will catch up with the United States in the levels of overweight and obesity in 13 years.
Barbosa said the growing number of overweight and obese adults are linked to a change in eating patterns, and Brazilian women with less education are more likely to be overweight.
Moreover, the sedentary lifestyle of many people is another cause for concern, as 14.2 percent of adults do not exercise in their leisure time.